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Supporting your child with shyness
Shyness doesn’t always go away over time, but children can learn to be more confident and comfortable interacting with other people. These tips can help.
Tips for babies and young children
Give your baby time to feel comfortable. Don’t make him go straight into the arms of an unfamiliar adult. Instead, encourage the adult to play with a toy near your child and use a calm voice.
Stay with your child in social situations, like playgroups or parents groups, while encouraging her to explore. As your child gets more comfortable you can gradually move away for short periods. For example, sit on a chair with other adults while your child plays on the floor. You can move back to your child if you need to.
Let your child know that his feelings are OK and that you’ll help him manage them. For example, ‘I can see you feel a bit scared because you don’t know who’s at the party. Let’s look together before we walk in’.
Avoid over-comforting your child. Over-comforting sends the message that you think this is a scary situation. And the extra attention might accidentally encourage your child’s shy behaviour.
Praise ‘brave’ behaviour like responding to others, using eye contact, trying something new or playing away from you. Be specific about what your child has done – for example, ‘Quinn, I liked the way you said hello to the boy in the park. Did you notice how he smiled when you did that?’
Try to model confident social behaviour so your child can watch and learn from you. For example, when someone says hello to you, always say hello back.
If other people say your child is ‘shy’, gently correct them in front of your child. For example, ‘Lou takes a little while to warm up. Once she’s comfortable she’ll be happy to play’. This sends the message that you understand how your child feels, and she can deal with the situation when she’s ready.
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00:00:00 Book 1: How Come You’re So Shy?
A big little golden book. Meeting a classmate even shyer than she is helps Ashley to overcome that problem.
00:06:57 Book 2: Don’t Be Shy
A golden book. A sesame street growing up book. Featuring Jim Henson’s sesame street muppets. Although his extreme bashfulness sometimes prevents Mr. Snuffle-upagus from enjoying himself, his Sesame Street friends keep telling him, “Don’t be shy!”
00:14:16 Book 3: Shy Charles
Charles is a mouse of few words. He doesn’t like to talk, and he’s perfectly happy playing by himself. But his parents are not happy. “It’s time he played football or joined the ballet,” says Charles’s father. So off Charles goes to ballet class, where he curls up and pretends to be asleep. Football proves even less successful. Will anything bring Charles out of his shell?“A nicely told fable as helpful for their parents as for shy children in need of respect.”
KidsStoryClub is a read along channel created by two fervent book enthusiasts. Our aim is to read a new enjoyable story for children every day so the parents get to relax for about twenty minutes.